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NCTC Gets Vast Powers To Spy On U.S. Citizens 332

Posted by timothy
from the so-full-of-hope-for-change dept.
interval1066 writes "In a breathtaking new move by (another) little-known national security agency, the personal information of all U.S. citizens will be available for casual perusal. The 'National Counterterrorism Center' (I've never heard of this org) may now 'examine the government files of U.S. citizens for possible criminal behavior, even if there is no reason to suspect them.' This is different from past bureaucratic practice (never mind due process) in that a government agency not in the list of agencies approved to to certain things without due process may completely bypass due process and store (for up to 5 years) these records, the organization doesn't need a warrant, or have any kind of oversight of any kind. They will be sifting through these records looking for 'counter-insurgency activity,' supposedly with an eye to prevention. If this doesn't wake you up and chill you to your very bone, not too sure there is anything that will anyway."
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NCTC Gets Vast Powers To Spy On U.S. Citizens

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  • Wait, what? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:54PM (#42276143)

    The government should need a warrant or due process to access its own records?

    Of course, I did not RTFA

  • by Sowelu (713889) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:58PM (#42276229)
    Not collecting much of new data, and it's one agency allowed to centralize it instead of every little local agency keeping it forever. I'd rather have one agency with a long time limit than a hundred agencies with long time limits...just keep the others low.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:59PM (#42276269)

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA *gasp* AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Really, I wish it were true, but I doubt it. A lot of people will "agree in the name of national security" that they won't fight it.

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @02:00PM (#42276301)
    Like how that warrantless wiretapping program was shut down?
  • by acidfast7 (551610) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @02:03PM (#42276361)
    Germany! ... am I being ironical or not?
  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday December 13, 2012 @02:05PM (#42276401)
    Poorly, which is why I learned my lesson and voted Libertarian this time.
  • Data is data... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by joocemann (1273720) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @02:08PM (#42276457)

    ...so if Agency X is exempt of a warrant, then Agency X can get the information and then share it. Just like asking facebook not to share your data after the fact --- the moment it was copied before you requested, the copies are out and in the hands of businesses for use. We shouldn't expect any different from our government. If one agency has access, then there is a loophole such that they all can.

    Here's the kicker... Obama ran in 2008 being against the patriot act, and extended it last year without question or veto. He might be your man for the job... But how is he at keeping his word on big issues like big brother and warrantless/unconstitutional acts?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2012 @02:09PM (#42276471)

    You are giving yourself an excuse. Maybe that is true, but you are ignoring the many, many ways the U.S. government is VERY corrupt. The U.S. financial system steals trillions of dollars. The kill-other-people-and-destroy-property groups associated with the U.S. government have stolen trillions of dollars to kill people in lands most citizens can't find on a map, partly for profit and partly because they are mentally ill.

    Citizens and taxpayers are not even allowed to know the names of all the secret groups that secretly get taxpayer money to do secret things that benefit people who taxpayers are not allowed to know.

    U.S. government corruption is a problem for everyone on the planet, not just U.S. citizens.

    Do the work of stopping corruption in the U.S. government.

  • by SternisheFan (2529412) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @02:10PM (#42276473)

    Remember when people were screaming that Bush was the root of all evil? How's that whole Obama thing working out for you.

    It wouldn't matter who's the temporary president anyway. President's come and go. All the big businesses and secret gov't agencies are there long before and long afterwards.

  • by jfengel (409917) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @02:14PM (#42276545) Homepage Journal

    And how did that work out for you?

  • I warned of this (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2012 @02:20PM (#42276669)

    Remember when people were screaming that Bush was the root of all evil? How's that whole Obama thing working out for you.

    Back when the Bush admin was "asserting" Executive power, a few of us raised a warning. One of our points was that any powers that the Bush administration acquired would be bestowed on the next admin - regardless of who's in power next.

    Now, I am NOT saying Obama is Evil or Bush was evil. What I am saying is that we should be very concerned with power creep.

    Congress and the Judiciary really needs to reign in executive power. Executive power is the only branch where things focus on one person. This isn't for just our Liberty but also for our security.

    One day soon, we're not going to be the big dogs in this World and when the new powers that be want to hurt the US, they'll just knock off the POTUS - along with his SS detail.

    Think long term people. And watch more history shows on Greece, Rome, Persia, Turkey, Mesopotamia, .....

  • Terrorist! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2012 @02:21PM (#42276673)

    Clearly both you and the op are terrorists.

    There's the rub, isn't it? As long as you call people terrorists, you can do anything to them.

    Blow up buildings? Terrorist.
    Free animals from research facilities? Terrorist.
    Do a web search about bomb-making? Terrorist.
    Say "terrorist" in an airport? Terrorist.
    Run a red light? Terrorist.
    Post a "subversive" comment on Slashdot? Terrorist.
    Read this message? Terrorist!!!

  • Re:Paywalled (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Un pobre guey (593801) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @02:23PM (#42276723) Homepage

    I consider myself Liberal and Progressive. I did not support the center-right Obama. He is yet another staunchly pro-establishment political operator like so many before him.

    Wake up, folks. We have been living in an authoritarian military oligarchy since World War I, when the finance-military-industrial-congressional complex got started in earnest. The rest is history, and Amazon is filled to the brim with its documentation.

  • by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Thursday December 13, 2012 @02:26PM (#42276767) Homepage

    I went with Jill Stein. I can say it went great. My vote did not contribute to evil. My vote registered as a protest to both the New GOP (aka Democrats) and the Old GOP (aka Parody-of-Itself). If Obama had lost, my vote may have triggered some New GOP soul searching. Obviously, I'll have to wait another election for any soul searching by the New GOP, but one can always hope.

    In fact, I voted a straight "neither GOP nor New GOP" ticket this year and that is my plan till they change their ways. If they never do change their ways, nothing is lost. If they do, much is gained. But by just following the herd, there is absolutely no chance anything will ever get better and an absolute certainty things will get worse. Being a sheep is the worst option.

  • by pla (258480) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @02:35PM (#42276949) Journal
    it's one agency allowed to centralize it instead of every little local agency keeping it forever.

    You left out the part where they can then share that aggregated data (including 3rd party private commercial data - such as your credit card history or your medical history - otherwise unobtainable without a warrant) and share it with anyone. Not just other spy orgs, but whomever the hell they feel like chatting with.

    Oh gee, forgot to pay use tax on that TV you bought in a neighboring state with no sales tax? No worries, they can forward that right off to your state's revenue service for processing all the appropriate fines! You work for a Catholic school? Hmm, pity how they somehow found out about that abortion. Hiding out from a psycho ex who consider restraining orders nothing more than toilet paper? Oops, he had some info the NCTC wanted, so they traded him a wad of info about you for it.

    All fucking legal.


    I'd rather have one agency with a long time limit than a hundred agencies with long time limits...

    I'd rather have zero agencies allowed to completely ignore those pesky ol' constitutional protections regarding things like due process, search and seizure, and so on.
  • by PlusFiveTroll (754249) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @02:40PM (#42277025) Homepage

    McCarthy supports this group from beyond the grave.

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @02:41PM (#42277053)

    good point.

    bush did create this. he created the war, gave us a reason to keep halliburton and friends rich(er), and put us into debt that we may never get out of, in our generation, at least.

    would obama have take us to these 2 unnecessary wars? no, I don't think so.

    would he have created all this bush depts to spy on us? no.

    would he like to BENEFIT from those that he did not create? YES.

    so, he's partially evil for not tearing it down, but he does not get the blame for putting them in place. and yes, that does count. he that throws the first punch is usually the one given the blame for the fight.

  • Re:Terrorist! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thoughtlover (83833) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @02:46PM (#42277129)

    Post as AC? Terrorist.

    The real chilling effect is how discourse could be curtailed in forums and the like. I think smart people will start saying a lot less; which will probably raise some red flag, somewhere.

  • Re:Terrorist! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SomePgmr (2021234) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:00PM (#42277359) Homepage

    discourse could be curtailed in forums and the like

    Well, I'll hope that day isn't today and ask... what database? What information? Has the criteria for action against a citizen changed? Is this actually a free pass for surveillance of any kind, or granting access to a specific database that already exists (and is known to us)? Maybe the difference doesn't matter, but I'd like to know.

    the personal information of all U.S. citizens will be available for casual perusal

    This is really vague and the article is paywalled. At the risk of sounding too reserved, I'd kinda like to know what we're talking about here.

  • by Holladon (1620389) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:14PM (#42277595)

    I went with Jill Stein. I can say it went great. My vote did not contribute to evil. My vote registered as a protest to both the New GOP (aka Democrats) and the Old GOP (aka Parody-of-Itself). If Obama had lost, my vote may have triggered some New GOP soul searching. Obviously, I'll have to wait another election for any soul searching by the New GOP, but one can always hope.

    Not to be a dick about it, but give me a break. Your vote didn't register a damn thing. When you vote, all you've done is vote. It doesn't tell anyone why you voted the way you did, and it doesn't empower you to suddenly control the party narrative. In fact, you're now a voter they've already LOST, so they care even less about you than they did the last time you voted Dem (if you ever did). If you want to send DC a message, try literally writing them one. Like on paper. I know, crazy idea.

    By the way, I voted for Jill Stein too, primarily because I live in Los Angeles so voting for president is basically pointless anyway, and I'd never voted third party before, so hey, why not. The only other legitimate reason to vote third party (and the other reason I did so, in addition to "for shits and giggles") is to help them get over the threshold for federal funds. But you're fooling yourself if you think that your vote for the Greens is going to make the Democrats do any soul-searching. I don't know how old you are, but my first election was in 2000 -- if there were EVER an election to induce the Dems to do some soul-searching, 2000 would have been it. Those of us who know our recent history know how well that worked out.

    In fact, I voted a straight "neither GOP nor New GOP" ticket this year and that is my plan till they change their ways. If they never do change their ways, nothing is lost. If they do, much is gained. But by just following the herd, there is absolutely no chance anything will ever get better and an absolute certainty things will get worse. Being a sheep is the worst option.

    Generally agreed, but voting is never, ever going to be a good way to make a difference. If you want to make a difference, get involved in local politics. Start a blog and create an audience. DO THINGS AND SAY THINGS that get other people to pay attention. But voting? Voting is a joke.

  • Re:Terrorist! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thaylin (555395) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:16PM (#42277617)
    Using your hyperbole, lets take a step back for a second. When you are called a bigot nothing happens other then maybe you get your feelings hurt. When you are labeled a terrorist, loads happen, other then the aforementioned hurt feelings, things like you losing your rights, possible treason charges and so on.
  • Re:Terrorist! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dan828 (753380) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:17PM (#42277657)
    He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent which will reach to himself. - Thomas Paine
  • by davydagger (2566757) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:28PM (#42277851)
    depends on the church.

    and in points in history they did. The reason they do not is because legal authority has been taken from them.

    Which is the reason for the seperation of church and state. Not only does it protect the state from the influence of the church, it protects the church from the influence of the state.
  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:34PM (#42277945) Homepage

    McCarthy was screwing up people's lives based on often completely specious accusations of communism, while these upstanding civil servants are screwing up people's lives based on often completely specious accusations of terrorism. Anybody who can't see the obvious differences between the two must be a terrorist.

  • by Khashishi (775369) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:38PM (#42278035) Journal

    They know that the increasing concentration of wealth into the hands of the few is politically unstable. Pretty soon, there will be wide-spread revolts. They know this. The counterterrorism center doesn't exist to deal with al Qaeda. Al Quaeda isn't a threat.

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:54PM (#42278323) Homepage Journal

    "They will be sifting through these records looking for 'counter-insurgency activity,' supposedly with an eye to prevention. "

    Uh... did no one else catch this? What insurgency exists domestically that they don't want people countering?

    Why, theirs of course!

    C'mon, you think they don't know that what they're doing is Constitutionally illegal? Believe that, and I've got some real estate spanning the East River you'll definitely want to invest in.

  • by JesseMcDonald (536341) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:50PM (#42279269) Homepage

    The "war" on crime has always been a morality issue. The entire point of a legal system is to enforce moral codes.

    No, the legal system is not about enforcing moral codes. The legal system is about responding to actions which cause harm to others: whether harm was done, how much harm, by whom, whether the harm was deliberate, what actions can justifiably be taken in response, etc. The critical thing about the law is that, unlike morality, it should not vary depending on your point of view. Morality is subjective; legality should be objective. There is significant overlap, of course, but the fact that some action is wrong under some particular moral code has no bearing on whether the action should be considered illegal. Conversely, what is legal is not always right.

    There may even be cases where an action is required by a particular moral code, and yet legally the moral actor still owes compensation to those harmed by it. For example, your morality may require you to steal from the rich to aid the poor, but legally, it's still theft and you owe compensation to your victims. As a deliberate action, they also have the right to retribution, meaning they can justly take from you as you have taken from them.

    Morality (right/wrong) and justice (legal/illegal) are completely separate concepts which merely happen to agree, in select cases, for particular varieties of morality.

  • Re:Terrorist! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2012 @05:07PM (#42279613)

    When you are labeled a terrorist, loads happen, other then the aforementioned hurt feelings, things like you losing your rights, possible treason charges and so on

    If you're accused of treason, the government has to charge you before they can lock you up. If you're accused of terrorism, you can be detained indefinitely without charges. If you're charged with treason, you get the right to confront your accuser, to see what evidence they have against you, and to refute that evidence. If you're accused of terrorism, the evidence may be deemed too secret for you to see; your accuser may be in too much danger to be revealed; your refutation may be too inflammatory to pronounce in open court.

    I'd much rather be accused of treason than terrorism.

It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. - W. K. Clifford, British philosopher, circa 1876

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